TECH SPOTLIGHT

Milestone For ABC O&O Digitization Push

The ABC Owned Television Stations Group, which six years ago began a massive project to digitize, catalogue and store its analog news stories, has just finished doing that at its KGO San Francisco (the latest after WABC New York, WLS Chicago and WPVI Philadelphia). The ABC Owned Television Stations Group Preservation Project is also underway at KABC Los Angeles and KTRK Houston.

ABC Owned Stations Unveil New Websites

The new responsive design is optimized across desktops, connected TVvs, tablets and smartphones.

ABC Owned Stations Closes Sacramento Bureau

CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

For Media Firms, CMS World Gets Complex

Content management systems serving the local media industry have taken a quantum leap forward, and choosing the right CMS has become more complicated than ever. Media companies have some difficult choices: select a system from a vendor, build one in-house or use an open-source system. Ron Stitt, VP of digital media at Fox Television Stations: “The pace of development is still constantly accelerating, and the landscape is incredibly complex when you factor in not just the front end but also the underlying platforms, devices, operating systems, display formats, distribution schemes and advertising/tracking requirements.” Part one of a three-part special report. Read the full report here.

ABC O&Os To Bear Brunt Of Disney Layoffs

The layoffs of around 175 people will come primarily in the ABC Owned Television Stations division, but involve the entire Disney/ABC Television Group, which employs about 7,600.

ABC O&Os Back TVB On Live+Same Day

Rebecca Campbell, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group: “Live+same day is the metric most consistent with the national C3 model. We also believe our advertisers gain real and significant value beyond same day viewing.”

Hearst To Offer ABC Live Streaming Service

Disney/ABC said that it will launch its Watch ABC service tomorrow featuring the live streaming of WABC New York and WPVI Philadelphia. Hearst is the first station group to sign on to provide the service with its eight ABC affiliates. Disney/ABC said it expects to reach agreements with other affiliate groups before the start of the fall season.

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TECH SPOTLIGHT

ABC O&Os Sold On Channel In A Box

The station group is moving ahead with installing Miranda’s iTX system at all eight of its stations by the end of the second quarter. Technical uniformity across the group is key, says ABC tech Dave Converse. “Philosophically, when you want to address a problem, you want to address it the same way. Right now, when we have a problem, we have to solve it eight times.”

ABC News, O&Os Launch iPad Apps Updates

Consumer trends guided their design and content.  Customized versions including regional news, weather and traffic will also be available from all eight ABC-owned stations, beginning today with KABC Los Angeles’ iPad app.

DMA 3

ABC Taps John Idler To Head WLS Chicago

The current GM of WTVD Raleigh-Durham, N.C., will succeed Emily Barr as president-GM of the ABC O&O. Idler has shuttling back-and-forth between WLS and WTVD since joining the ABC O&Os in 1998. He moved to WTVD in 2007 to become the GM there.

ABC App Gets You Moving In The A.M.

The free iPhone and iPod Touch alarm clock app, available through the iTunes Store, also features custom wake-up tracks from station anchors.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Two Tough Jobs For Two Proven Execs

Rebecca Campbell (l), CEO of the ABC Owned Television Stations, and Valari Staab, CEO of NBC Owned Television Stations, face very different tasks. Staab has before her a full-blown reclamation project while Campbell is charged with maintaining her group’s reputation as local TV broadcasting’s premier franchise. But the two women also share attributes: Both are engaging personalities and boast proven aptitude at running major market TV stations. It will be interesting to see how they approach their respective challenges.

ABC O&Os Up Carpenter To SVP Digital Media

The news director of ABC-owned WPVI Philadelphia, Carla Carpenter, will now lead development and implementation of station group strategies and initiatives involving the Internet, new digital channels, mobile and other evolving digital media for ABC’s eight owned stations.

DMA 93

ABC’s Live Well Picks Up 26th Multicast Affil

With the addition of Quincy Newspapers’ WSJV South Bend-Elkhart, Ind., the multicasting channel featuring lifestyle programming now counts 26 outlets and reaches 40% of U.S. TV homes.

FOCUS ON NEW MEDIA

Stations’ Mobile Apps Showing Promise

TV stations are rolling out apps for smart phones and tablets with the support of technology and software vendors, hoping that the apps will eventually provide a substantial, new source of advertising revenue. Although advertising is the most common way of monetizing apps, some are also experimenting with modest monthly subscription fees.

EXECUTIVE SESSION WITH EMILY BARR AND PEGGY ALLEN

ABC’s Multicast Play: All’s Well With Live Well

Emily Barr (left) and Peggy Allen are the ABC execs charged with developing the programming and expanding the distribution of the O&Os’ Live Well multicast channel. The diginet featuring  lifestyle programming aimed at women and produced mostly by the stations is now shopping for additional affiliates with the goal of reaching 50-60% of TV homes by the end of the year. The two outline their strategies and goals as they compete for a valuable — and increasingly in demand — chunk of stations’ spectrum.

DMA 69 AND 70

FCC Greenlights Flint, Toledo ABC O&O Sale

The FCC last Friday approved SJL Holdings’ purchase of two small-market ABC O&Os, WJRT Flint, Mich., and WTVG Toledo, Ohio. Upon closing, ABC will get $16.8 million for WTVG and $13.2 million for WJRT. The deal had been announced last November.

EXECUTIVE SESSION WITH GEORGE LILLY

Bullish Big Time On Buying TV Stations

George Lilly, a broadcast veteran who’s just agreed to buy two stations from ABC, says the time is right to be buying again. He thinks we’ve seen the end of the recession and is bullish on what the future holds for expanding local TV’s revenue streams, ranging from retransmission consent money, to online growth as well as mobile. “We just see upside potential.”

DMA 68 & 73

Disney Selling Its Flint And Toledo Stations

The Walt Disney Co. has made an agreement to sell the two smallest O&Os in its 10-station ABC Owned Television Stations Group —  WJRT Flint, Mich., and WTVG Toledo, Ohio — to the stations’ former owner SJL Broadcasting.